Once there was a righteous king who ruled Kerala, King Mahabali, who was sent to the nether world by the Gods. Legend has it that he was allowed to visit his subjects once a year. This visit is celebrated as Onam by Keralites. Every year, King Mahabali’s return is celebrated with much pomp and the people welcome him by adorning their front yards with Athapookkalam or floral carpets Earlier flowers were in abundance in Kerala. However, nowadays colours, powders, and even paper bits are used in place of flowers in the Athapookkalam. In this scenario, this video attempts to showcase the traditional way of preparing floral carpets. Though preparing these floral carpets differs slightly from region to region, there is a traditional method involved in preparing this artwork. The front yard of the house is first cleaned and then cow dung is smeared over the area. On the first day, Tulsi leaves are placed in the centre and Thumbappoo (Leucas) is placed around it. Old flowers are removed the next morning itself. From the second day onwards, Mukkootti (Biophytum) is added into the floral arrangement along with Tulsi and Thumbappoo . Starting the Chothi asterism, that is the third day onwards, red flowers are being used. Flowers Chethi (Ixora) and Chembarathi (Hibiscus) are normally used. Usually the petals of the hibiscus flower are removed and placed while Chethi poo is added into the athapookkalam after removing it from the bunch In some areas, along with the main athapookkalam, flowers such as Thulsipoo and Thumbapoo are placed at the four corners of the floral arrangement. In these, flowers are arranged in a semicircular shape. As the days pass, new rings using flowers will be added. Flowers such as Rajamalli (caesalpinia), Shankupushpam (Clitoria Ternatea), Mandaram (white orchid) are added to it. With the disappearance of shrubs from the countryside, flowers such as Jamanthy (Indian Marigold) and Vadamulla (Gomphrena) have found their presence. On the fifth day, the old flowers are removed and a circular platform is prepared using soil. The centre portion of this will have a mound and will be higher. After affixing this, a sort of plastering is made with cow dung. This structure is called the Pooppada. In most places, ‘Kudakuthal’, a kind of decoration, starts from the fifth day onwards. The stem of the areca nut tree is sharpened and affixed onto the Pooppada. The stem of elephant yam or plantain is stuck onto this. Later on, flowers such as hibiscus and manjakkolambi (Golden Trumpet) are then looped onto the coconut leaf ribs These coconut leaf ribs bearing the flowers are then stuck around the plantain stem. The number of such decoration increases as the days pass by. Normally floral arrangement isn’t made during the Thiruvonam day. Instead the clay models of Thrikkakkarayappan and Mathevar, decorated with Thumbakudam and rice flour, is used to adorn the athapookkalam. As such, the grandeur of floral carpets can be witnessed on the Uthradam day. There! You have just witnessed the tradition and preparations involved in arranging floral carpets. So this Onam, are you game to prepare the floral carpets with pooppada and kudakuthal?